How Long To Let An Air Conditioner Settle (Find Out Now!)
Bringing an air conditioner into your home is a cause for celebration. Enduring the heat may become a thing of the past thanks to your new appliance. Don’t go cranking up the air conditioner right away though. Doing so could potentially lead to some issues.
It takes 30 minutes for an air conditioner to settle. The freon in an air conditioner can settle in an average of 22 minutes, but it can take a full 24 hours for some units to settle. Manufacturers generally state the settling time for an AC’s compressor when you buy a specific unit.
Proper air conditioner handling is essential if you want it cooling down your home for a long time. See how you should handle your own air conditioner at home by checking out the rest of this article.
How Long Does the Air Conditioner Need to Be Settled before Being Used?
Getting excited to use your new air conditioner right away is understandable. In some situations though, it’s a temptation you must resist. So, how long do you need to wait before you can start using your latest purchase? That will depend on the specific item you purchased.
Some air conditioning units are designed in such a way that they can be installed and used immediately. Others may call on you to leave the unit alone for a while before using it. You’ll have to refer to the unit’s manual to find out the answer yourself. Remember to ask about that too while shopping so you know what to expect.
The suggested wait times can vary quite significantly. While shopping, you may find an air conditioning unit that can be used after it settles for about 30 minutes. That’s the low end of the wait time spectrum.
There are other air conditioners that will ask their owners to wait for a while before they can experience comforting cooling. Those wait times could be an hour, six hours, or even be as long as one full day.
Why Does an Air Conditioner Need to Settle Before It Can Be Used?
Found inside your air conditioner is a component known as a compressor. The aforementioned component is responsible for compressing the refrigerant vapor. Without that compressor present inside the air conditioner, the entire unit will be rendered incapable of providing cooling. It is among the most essential elements of the entire appliance.
The reason why we’re talking about the compressor is because it has to be conditioned well in order to work properly. If the compressor is not lubricated sufficiently, its smaller parts may not work. Even if the compressor does manage to start without proper lubrication, its smaller components are still susceptible to damage.
An air conditioner compressor running without enough lubrication continuously can break down pretty easily. That’s the problem we’re trying to avoid here and it’s also why settling an air conditioner is often recommended.
You want the air conditioner compressor to be lubricated at all times, but that may not happen if it’s not settled. The oil that’s supposed to keep the compressor lubricated should be close to it. Unfortunately, the oil may leak out of position while the unit was being transported.
That tends to happen most often when the air conditioners are not positioned properly during transport. Either you or the person tasked with delivering the air conditioner may have positioned it the wrong way.
A unit set on its side may have its lubricant slip out of the compressor case. Instead of being inside the compressor case, the oil may settle at the bottom of the unit. It won’t be of much help in that spot.
You have to give the oil time to return to the compressor case by positioning the air conditioner correctly. That’s what settling is all about.
What Could Happen if the Air Conditioner Is Not Allowed to Settle First?
Following the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the usage of their products is always a good idea. Still, mistakes do happen.
You may have forgotten about checking the manual prior to turning on the air conditioner. It’s also possible that a family member turned it on before you could warn them against doing so.
What can you expect to happen in that scenario? In all likelihood, nothing too serious will go wrong right away. The air conditioner may even start up like normal. Problems could emerge if you allow the air conditioner to keep running even if it wasn’t allowed to settle though.
The longer the unit keeps going, the more damage the compressor could potentially sustain. It would be best to turn it off immediately if you knew it wasn’t allowed to settle long enough.
Damaged compressors are also difficult to replace. You may end up having to replace the entire unit if the damage to the compressor is significant.
Do You Need to Let an Air Conditioner Settle If It Hasn’t Been Used for Several Months?
Thus far, we’ve focused on new air conditioners and if they need to be settled. But what about older units that haven’t been used in a long time? Do they need to be settled before being used as well?
The answer here depends on a few factors. The first thing you have to consider is whether the air conditioner was in storage during its period of inactivity. While in storage, the air conditioner could have been set on its side for a long time. That likely means the lubricant is no longer where it should be.
Go ahead and let the unit settle for a day before you start using it again. You should also consider allowing the air conditioner to settle if you traveled with it. This also has to do with positioning. Unless you were able to keep the air conditioner upright throughout the trip, allowing it to settle first would be wise.
What Other Precautionary Checks Should Be Done before Using an Air Conditioner?
Outside of allowing an air conditioning unit to settle, there are other precautionary checks you can perform. We’ve listed the most important things for you to check below.
The Air Conditioner’s Wiring
Start by inspecting the wiring of your air conditioner. While in storage, some pests may have gotten to the air conditioner and gnawed at some of its wires. Plugging it in without checking first could lead to an electrical fire.
The Air Conditioner’s Filters
Even if your air conditioner’s filter was clean when you put it in storage, it may have accumulated dust over time. Before you set it back in place, take the time to clean it out to improve its efficiency. You can also call in a professional to handle the cleaning of the filter if you prefer.
The Air Conditioner’s Drain and Refrigerant Lines
Drain lines need to be inspected for potential blockages. You may have failed to clean that part of the air conditioner before placing it in storage. Clear out any clumps of dirt lodged in there before installing again to ensure the unit works properly.
The refrigerant line should also be checked for any potential leaks. A punctured refrigerant line will hamper the effectiveness of your air conditioner. You may not experience cooling of any kind if you don’t address that issue first.
The Air Conditioner’s Air Vents
Lastly, check the air conditioner’s vents before you turn it on again. Clearing out the vents will allow your air conditioner to work at its full potential. Plus, cleaning out the vents is something you can do on your own pretty easily.
Does Tilting the Air Conditioner Have the Same Effect as Allowing It to Settle?
Tilting the air conditioner is a practice commonly employed during installation. The idea behind installing the unit at an angle instead of keeping it level is to keep the water droplets outside.Notably, tilting an air conditioner during installation is not necessary since most manufacturers have accounted for condensation when designing their creations. They can be installed level and never leave droplets of water inside your home.Also, since tilting is supposed to help address condensation and not lubrication, it cannot help keep the oil in place either. Go ahead and install your air conditioner parallel to the ground and things should turn out fine.
How Long Can You Run an Air Conditioner after Settling?
Once you’ve allowed the air conditioning unit to settle for the appropriate amount of time, you don’t need to hold back. Feel free to use your air conditioner as much as you like to combat the oppressive heat.The unit itself will hold up just fine to continuous usage, but the same may not be true for your wallet. Running an air conditioner continuously is expensive so keep that in mind before setting the timer.
Will Allowing the Air Conditioner to Settle Help It Cool Your Home Faster?
No, giving the air conditioner time to settle does not affect how quickly it provides cooling. Factors such as the temperature outside, leaks along your walls, and filter cleanliness are the ones that affect cooling speed. Address those matters if you want your air conditioner to take effect faster.
We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.
More by Upgraded Home Team